CHICO, Calif. - After scoring 99 points in the last two games, it looked like the Chico High offense was coming back down to earth.
After each team exchanged turnovers and punts in the first quarter, however, senior receiver Abe Del Real caught a slant route on the first play of the second quarter and took it the house for a 72-yard touchdown. The Panthers (6-1) did not look back after that and won big Friday night, 35-0, over visiting Eureka in a rare mid-October inter-sectional affair.
“We have really good athletes on this team and when they get the ball they can do special things. We have kind of been a big play team,” Chico head coach Jason Alvistor said.
Del Real was the one making big plays Friday night with two receiving touchdowns. He was able to secure his second touchdown of the night in the second quarter by using his long, tall body to catch a 17-yard fade route over the cornerback. The 6-foot-3-inch receiver now has seven touchdowns on the season.
Del Real and the offense try not to beat each other up when things are not going their way.
“A big thing for us is not getting too low with the lows. Being able to come out when things are not going our way and to still give 100 percent effort, that’s real big for us,” Del Real said.
The Loggers (3-4, 0-0) came into this game banged up at quarterback and missing standout Trevor Bell, who injured an ankle during the week, and the Panthers were able to capitalize.
“It was a bummer for them. Their quarterback is a great player,” defensive coordinator Chris Clock said.
Clock’s defense was able to pitch a shutout, which included a 50-yard pick-6 to senior strong safety Willy Baker.
“I was dropping back in coverage and I turned and the ball was right in front of me. It was all instincts at that point. Catch the ball and run,” Baker said.
Sophomore offensive lineman Sam Ruffino had a lot of respect for the Loggers and felt his team started sluggish, but was able to pick it up.
“Eureka is a tough team, they did not quit. The offensive line started slow, but at halftime we were able to pick it up. We were frustrated with how we played, but we got after it after the break,” Ruffino commented.
The other two scores for the Panthers came from running back Jalen Johnson and receiver Marco Moretti. The senior running back trotted in the end zone on a three-yard run. Johnson has seven touchdowns on the season. Moretti’s touchdown came later in the game in the fourth quarter on a 18-yard strike from junior quarterback Jake Hamman. Morretti has two touchdowns on the year now.
Hamman had an up and down night throwing for three touchdowns and two interceptions. The 6-foot-1-inch quarterback now has 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Red Bluff Spartans (0-6, 0-2) and Chico will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the Spartans’ field.
Eureka will play Fortuna (2-4) at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Eureka High School, in the HDN-Big 4 opener for both schools.